A little while ago, m’esteemed colleague Neil Vorano checked out Toyota’s brand-new bZ4X EV crossover. Turns out it’s pretty good too. “Pleasant” and roomy cabin. Peppy acceleration. A comfortable ride. Decent range and price. All the practical boxes you’d want from a mainstream daily runner checked there.
There is, admittedly, a point of contention in TheCharge.ca office: the name.
bZ4X. The meaning behind the acronym is admirable – ‘bZ’ stands for ‘Beyond Zero’ in homage to Toyota’s loftier electrification goals, while ‘4X’ denotes its position as a four-seat crossover – sadly this otherwise arbitrary collection of letters doesn’t quite cut it for this particular writer. Not once, after all, have I managed to reference this new model without the need to google it first. Even then, several times an asterisk, a question mark and, on one woeful attempt, the bat symbol have all been thrown into the haphazard mix. It’s a name, unfortunately, without gravitas.
Toyota is not alone either. Mercedes-AMG’s newly-launched hybrid hypercar mates the savage performance of Formula 1 with the meticulous attention to detail of which the Silver Arrows is renowned for a potentially once-in-a-generation performance weapon. One they’ve forthrightly, yet rather underwhelmingly named… well… ONE.
Lacks punch, doesn’t it?
And here – in case you were confused by the title – is where Aston Martin comes in. Its first battery-electric model is set to be launched in 2025. And it needs a proper name.
Upon its arrival, the first “pure” EV will be a significant steppingstone towards Aston Martin phasing out internal combustion altogether by 2026. But while sales targets for the Toyota bz…bZ…Bz… ‘Beyond Zero’ will be in the thousands, Aston’s 2025 BEV will almost certainly cater to, let’s say, a more ‘discerning’ customer. One buoyed by Aston’s heritage, its enigmatic style, its connection with a certain Martini-quaffing secret agent, and the presumed bat-out-of-hell acceleration of which Aston’s first-ever BEV will be capable.
And for that, plus its inevitable place in the history books, it will need a name befitting a brand-new era for Britain’s oldest existing luxury carmaker.
An obvious step would be the ‘DB’ route. Every flagship model of the British marque since 1948 after all has paid tribute to former owner David Brown by donning his initials on their rear flanks, a tradition that’s unlikely to be dropped any time soon. That the company’s first SUV was called the ‘DBX’ showed just how much faith Gaydon had in this radical shift. Why not then its soon-to-be EV halo model too?
Indeed, should the new BEV end up being the successor to the DB11 then, as has been speculated – the current flagship was launched in 2016, and what better way to showcase a new company direction than a new EV figurehead? – the temptation might be to meld company heritage with its electric future, and run with ‘DB-E’, or even ‘DB-E12.’ Possible, if maybe a bit twee, something Aston, to it’s credit, has vetoed in the past. Lest we forget, the British marque’s ‘original’ first electric car was called the RapidE when announced in 2019, only to quickly be re-christened as the ‘Rapide E’ before the project was dropped altogether in 2020.
If not the ‘DB’ route, Aston’s 2025 BEV could follow the brand’s ‘V’ nomenclature instead, the tradition of which dates back to the launch of the Volante – a short chassis offshoot of the DB5 – in 1965. Admittedly, not every Aston ‘V’ has gone the distance (anyone remember the Vignale of 1993?), but certainly the Vantage remains a staple of the Aston’s range since its introduction as a standalone model in 2005, while the ‘Valkyrie’ (the ONE’s principal rival) the ‘Valhalla, and ‘the ‘Vulcan’– the first and second a reference to Norse mythology, the third a nod to the Ancient Roman god of fire – ape their borderline lunatic performance.
If a now dormant German independent carmaker doesn’t mind parting company with the name, the EV ‘Veritas’ could fit in quite nicely. Or, hell, why not the Vettel, in honour of the brand’s current F1 driver and four-time world champion?
Simply put, Aston’s first-ever battery-electric model in 2025, the figurehead for the company’s electrified future to come, can ill afford not to make an immediate impact. A name arbitrarily throwing around the hallowed ‘E’ purely for convenient marketing simply won’t cut it, as the motoring industry – fans and prospective customers alike – are far too cynical to let Aston Martin get away with it. The BEV will need a name that stirs the blood. Makes an impact. Grabs attention.
It’s needs a V. Or a DB. Not a bZ.